Nuclear energy has captured public interest for decades.
Nuclear power generation is complex and dangerous technology.
However, public reactions to nuclear power have begun to shift in recent years.
The future is bright for nuclear energy, and facts about the future have replaced the fear of the past.
Rather than being dangerous and hazardous, nuclear energy is slowly becoming recognized for its potential to benefit the environment and supply electricity to the entire world.
Here are some facts about nuclear energy.
What is Nuclear Energy?
Although nuclear energy has a huge impact, its enormous energy potential is only possible from a small source. This is because nuclear energy begins with atoms. Atoms are the tiny elements that make up our world.
The spherical, rotating electric cases in atoms make up the bulk of their structure. The outer layers contain eight to ten electrons. An inner layer holds two electrons. The electric force keeps the electrons in their cases by keeping them still as they move.
The nucleus is located within the circle of electrons. It is composed of protons as well as neutrons. The protons attract spinning electrons with a positive charge.
The protons are the closest electrons, so the strongest attraction is between them. However, electrons further away can be attracted less strongly. An electron with a weaker attraction can be released into orbit. The electrons can then be sent to another atom by applying a force during orbit release. This electron exchange creates electricity.
Large amounts of energy are contained in the bonds that hold the nucleus particles together. This powerful bond can be broken by an atom-splitting procedure called nuclear fission. This is when nuclear energy is created and can be used for electricity generation.
How is Nuclear Energy Produced?
Atomic power generation is driven by sustained nuclear fission.
According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), nuclear power plants use nuclear fission to generate nuclear power. A majority of them will use uranium atoms.
Also, nuclear energy can be created when atoms fuse. This process is known as nuclear Fusion.
Nuclear fission can be a natural process. However, human-induced Uranium atom-based nuclear Fusion is more common at nuclear power plants than standard nuclear fission.
The Uranium used for nuclear fission can also be called nuclear fuel or enriched Uranium. U-235 is the most common type of Uranium. It is an isotope that is easier to separate inside a nuclear reactor.
A neutron strikes a uranium-atom atom and causes nuclear fission. This releases more neutrons, heat and radiation energy.
The neutrons were still being released and collided with more uranium atoms, creating a nuclear chain reaction.
Power plants can control this reaction up to the point where the process has produced enough energy.
How do nuclear energy reactors work?
The machines that control nuclear fission and nuclear chain reactions at nuclear power plants are called nuclear reactors. These processes occur inside these reactors.
A way to sustain an energy-generating fission reaction is to use uranium fuel as nuclear fuel. These ceramic pellets are one inch long and stored in fuel rods. A single enriched uranium uranyl pellet can generate approximately the same amount as one ton of electricity from coal. These rods are then assigned a fuel assembly. This is a group of 200 or more fuel rods.
The typical nuclear reactor design can contain hundreds of fuel assemblies. The fuel rods are kept in a special compartment called a reactor vessel. They are then submerged in cooling and moderating water.
Water acts as a buffer and tempers repeated neutron formation that results from fission. Control rods can be inserted or removed to increase or decrease reaction rates. The steam required to run a turbine is created by heat from fission.
What Is Nuclear Energy Used For?
The heat generated by nuclear power is used to make steam. The steam from nuclear power is used to power a turbine that generates electricity when it turns.
Electricity is made from nuclear heat and steam power.
For more than six decades, the United States has been using nuclear power. It is responsible for more than 30% of global nuclear electricity generation.